What We Must Look For in a Leader

We live in a time where technology broadcasts every fault in our leaders. 

We see their mistakes, their shortcomings and their flaws highlighted every day.

I may be thinking of the election and the presidential candidates, but I am also considering the leaders in our churches, schools, towns and families.

Our lives are filled with leaders and that may include you.  But in the midst of a world full of attacks, judgement and condemnation, we must remember that even the greatest leaders in the Bible had their faults.

We don’t need to be perfect to be a leader and to bring forth God’s will.

Jacob deceived his dying father to steal the blessing that God had already promised him.  Moses was afraid of speaking and wouldn’t move forward until another was chosen to speak on his behalf.  Gideon doubted God’s call and in fear tested God.  Paul’s background included murder and persecution of countless Christians. 

And yet all these leaders, full of faults and mistakes, were extraordinary instruments in God’s plan.  They stepped up to the leadership role in one way or another and led countless others into God’s arms.

So what should we expect from our leaders today?  What traits or qualities are important above all else?

1. Leaders Follow God First

Leaders must seek to follow God first and foremost.  When a leader is seeking God above all else, we can be assured that their hearts are in the right place. 

When we look to one of the greatest leaders in the Bible, we see that he regularly spent time with God in order to discern the leading of his people.  Moses was a great instrument in accomplishing God’s will for the people of Israel.  He led them out of oppression in Egypt and to the Promised Land.

Moses, like all of us, had his moments of doubt and fear.  But the difference was that he sought God in those moments.

It is okay for our leaders to doubt, to be afraid and to make mistakes, so long as they turn and seek God in those times.

Moses made many mistakes in his time as a leader.  Although his mistakes may have taken away from the blessings he received, by turning to God in those moments, he was able to accomplish the extraordinary purpose that was intended for him.

[bctt tweet="It is okay for our leaders to doubt, to be afraid and to make mistakes, so long as they turn and seek God in those times." username="NicoleAKauffman"]

We must pray for our leaders to feel the convictions of the Holy Spirit.  Pray that the leaders in your life will seek God and seek His direction in their position as a leader.

2. Leaders Take Action

One of the most important parts of leading is taking action.  It is important for our leaders to discern which direction is best, however, a leader must not grow stagnant or fearful of moving forward.

In the book of Joshua, we find that Israel is taking over the Promised Land.  This was no easy feat, for the land was filled with nations of strong armies.  Joshua had to trust that God’s promises would carry him through.  He continuously took action and led his people into battle against the Canaanites and in doing so, conquered the land.  Joshua had to step forward and take action in order to accomplish God’s will.

In contrast, we see that after Joshua died, there was no longer a leader willing to take action in charge.  The people failed to continue to move forward and conquer the rest of the land and this led to their oppression for many years. 

When leaders fail to take action, they lead their people away from God’s will. 

Leaders must take action, even if it is means taking the more difficult path.  Without action, we are led to complacency, fear and failure. 

[bctt tweet="Leaders must take action, even if it is means taking the more difficult path." username="NicoleAKauffman"]

Examine the leaders in your life.  Are they willing to take action even if it’s hard?  Pray that they will find the courage to step forward in spite of their fears or doubts.

3. Leaders Are Willing

Willingness includes more than just taking action.  Yes, our leaders must be willing to take action, but more importantly they must have an attitude of willingness in all that they do.

Our leaders must be willing to endure whatever is before them in order to truly lead.

Paul is a wonderful example of this in the Bible.

A leader must not shrink in the face of adversity, but stand strong and take responsibility of his people.

Paul was willing to endure great pain and suffering in order to lead others to Christ.  He accepted his position as an apostle of Christ and he stood strong in the most difficult times.  Even in prison, he wrote letters to continue to lead and guide the churches.  He stood for Christ no matter his circumstances and therefore through his life, led many to a saving relationship with Christ.

[bctt tweet="A leader must not shrink in the face of adversity, but stand strong and take responsibility of his people." username="NicoleAKauffman"]

Pray that your leaders will stand strong regardless of their circumstances.  Pray that they will find courage to do what is right, no matter the outcome.

4. Leaders Are Humble

Finally we come to the importance of humility in leadership.  Many leaders in the Bible displayed humility, but the greatest example of this is Jesus.

Jesus lowered himself in numerous incidences in order to show his love and humility to others.  He bent before the disciples to wash their dirty feet-the task of a servant.  He ate with the sinners and tax collectors-a disgraceful thing in his time.  He left his throne in heaven to walk alongside those he loved and in doing so, led mankind into the opportunity for a loving and saving relationship with the Almighty God.

When a leader exalts himself above all others he loses the respect of his followers.  This is a manifestation of selfishness and the quest for fame and power.  And it results in followers feeling unheard, uncared for and mistreated.

[bctt tweet="When a leader exalts himself above all others he loses the respect of his followers. " username="NicoleAKauffman"]

Leaders must remain humble in order to develop respect and loyalty.  When we look to our leaders, we must assess whether or not they are acting in humble care for those they lead or if they are seeking to gain solely for themselves.

Pray that your leaders will feel convicted to act humbly and to consider those they lead before considering themselves.


Whether you are in a leadership position or you are praying for and supporting other leaders, it is important to examine these qualities.  Leaders have a great responsibility and must be chosen wisely.  When we aren’t in a positing to choose or change the leaders before us, we must pray diligently that God will open their eyes to His calling for those who lead.

Photo Credit: vanhuynguyen Flickr via Compfight cc


  1. Great qualities, Nicole! Being a leader is never easy, but if we model our leadership after Jesus, success will follow. A book I loved about leadership was called “Lead Like Jesus” by Ken Blanchard.It’s a great read!
    Thanks so much for sharing at #MomentsofHope!
    Blessings and smiles,

  2. Your post made me think of the book “Jesus Hearted Woman–10 Leadership Qualities for Enduring and Endearing Influence” by Jodi Detrick Visiting from #LMMLinkup today 🙂

  3. Bev Murrill just shared an excellent post on leadership that is still ringing in my ears as I read yours. She distinguishes between effective leaders (Hitler was a very effective leader) and GOOD leaders. So much to ponder in this season.

    1. Definitely a lot to be thinking about as the election so quickly approaches. It’s so great that we can trust that God is ultimately in control. Thanks for stopping by, Michele!

  4. Thank you for these reminders of great leaders. I love that you mentioned that any leader except Jesus will have faults, but God can still use them to accomplish great things.

    1. Thank you, Courtney! It’s amazing how God used the broken and flawed to lead in the Bible. Great to meet you 🙂

  5. Being confident as a leader because of who’s you are and being humble because of where your ability comes from, is something every leader must always keep before them. There may be times that confidence is confused with pride. We can be confident because we depend and lean hard on a God who is always faithful, even when we fail. I’ve found the greatest way to keep humble as a leader (we are all called to lead in some respect, in our sphere of influence) is to always continue to serve others. The hard way to keep humble is it to try and accomplish things on your own ability and watch how you stumble along the way. At least for me I’ve realized real fast how much all I do depends on God working in and through me – not on me. Thank you for the reminder that our leaders need prayer, but really, we all do! It was great to link up with you on #coffeeforyourheart

  6. Excellent! A leader is someone who sees a need and does something about it! They are humble, recognizing that all they have and all they do is by God’s grace.

  7. Oh that we would have more servant leaders with a humble heart! I do know some godly men and women running for Congress and that gives me hope. Praying mightily that God will direct our country in this lack of national leadership. Thank you for your great points today.

  8. Sometimes I think it’s humility that is most lacking in many leaders that I see. Even among those that follow God, being humble is a difficult task. It’s something we all have to continue to be conscious of and grow in. I know for me, pride is still such a powerful enemey. Thanks for sharing this list, Nicole.

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